Should New York Giants Shut Down Their Stars?

There’s not much left to play for at this point for the New York Giants. After their loss to the Jets, they’re pretty clearly out of the race to be competitive in the division, even though the writing has been on the wall ever since the beginning of the season when the Giants dropped back to back games to start things off. There’s always pride to play for, and some players are playing for their jobs, but the Giants right now aren’t in reach of most of the goals they would have come into the season with.

So why are players like Saquon Barkley still risking their health by going out there?

It’s understandable why Barkley wanted to play against the Jets – the New York rivalry is important for bragging rights and the Giants had a chance to snap a big losing streak against a team that all of their fans would like to see them beat. And NFL players are all competitive, on top of that. Few players will miss time if they have the option of coming back.

Still, the decision on which players sit and which ones play falls on the head coach and the rest of the organization, and Pat Shurmur sent Barkley out in a game where his performance shows he clearly isn’t the same player that he was before the injury. Barkley’s two performances back show he could use further recovery time, but it doesn’t seem that’s in the plans for the Giants.

Sterling Shepard is in a similar spot, although the Giants have shown more caution with Shepard – he hasn’t returned since being concussed again, but earlier in the season, Shepard being sent back out quickly following his first concussion may have played into the second one happening in the first place.

The Giants sending Shepard back out as soon as he was able to play might have been more understandable in the past, when the team wasn’t as far removed from being competitive, but that’s not the case with their handling of Barkley. The season is already lost. There’s no need to risk the team’s most important franchise player unnecessarily when he clearly isn’t one hundred percent and when nothing is at stake except for draft position at this point.

Besides, in his partially injured state, it’s not as if Barkley has outperformed Wayne Gallman. His two games after coming back have been some of the worst of his career, and the Giants aren’t in more of a winning position from sending Barkley out when he’s not fully ready to play again.

It’s hard to say whether Barkley needs to miss the entire season at this point, and the same goes for Shepard, but based on how things appear so far, it seems like both players could use a long break before they hit the field again. The Giants have already been allowing Shepard to have that. The question now is, will they do the same with Barkley rather than risking the health of one of their key players for little benefit?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirms he will pursue Gerrit Cole

Will the New York Yankees pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason?

The New York Yankees were immediately linked to star pitcher Gerrit Cole after their elimination from the postseason in the ALCS. Bolstering the starting pitching rotation seemed to be a priority going into the offense. Still, comments made by owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman indicated that reinforcing the rotation wasn’t a priority.

However, Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees and Cashman would be pursuing Cole in free agency, despite the concern that he prefers California, his native state.

Recently, retired pitcher for the Bombers, CC Sabathia, stated that he had been speaking with Cole about the potential of bringing him to the Bronx.

As per a previous report:

Sabathia said on his “R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED” podcast that he had spoken with cole “at length” in regards to signing with the Bombers and what it would take for them to gain his arm in the rotation.

Bringing Cole to New York would immediately make the Yankees one of the most feared team’s in baseball, especially with a potential Cy Young-winning pitcher this season joining the ranks.

How much would Gerrit Cole cost the Yankees?

Cole is expected to land a massive pay-day, though, which could surpass $30 million easily. His side hopes to breach the $200 million mark over multiple years, which would make him the highest-paid pitcher in history.

Gerrit’s 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts, both career-highs, make him extremely attractive, but the Yankees would have to forfeit the idea of bringing in top-tier talent at other positions. Cashman doesn’t necessarily need to allocate much salary cap towards other spots, as both the outfield and infield are filled with quality players.

With Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks in the outfield, there is more than enough talent to hold them down. Injuries are the biggest concern, which makes the retention of players like Mike Tauchman necessary.

Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert out vs Utah Jazz

Brooklyn Nets, Caris Levert

The Brooklyn Nets will be without their starting shooting guard Caris LeVert. This news may come as a surprise to many, but he is expected to miss Tuesday’s game against the Utah Jazz due to a right thumb sprain. According to CBS Sports, the injury occurred during the second quarter of the game against the Phoenix Suns.

Without realizing the severity of the injury, Caris LeVert continued to play through it. This is not to say that he is going to miss an extended amount of time. Within the next few days, Caris LeVert will undergo an MRI in which more information will be revealed.

This is a significant loss for the Brooklyn Nets as Caris LeVert is having a strong start to the season. He’s been poised for a breakout season for some time now. He’s averaging career highs in minutes, points, 3pt FG percentage, and rebounds. Caris LeVert has been a big part of Brooklyn’s success when they’ve had it through the first nine games.

He is the second-leading scorer in points (16.8ppg) after newly acquired Kyrie Irving. He is also one of Brooklyn’s better defenders on the perimeter.

Players who look to benefit from the newly free minutes are probably Dzanan Musa and David Nwaba. Both play similar positions as him and should bring the defense (Nwaba) and scoring (Musa) that the Brooklyn Nets will need to replace the absent Caris LeVert.

New York Mets 1B Pete Alonso Wins 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Award

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was named the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Monday.

https://twitter.com/SNYtv/status/1194039748211478528

Alonso (5.0 WAR, 148 OPS+, .260 BA, 53 HR) was selected over Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Soroka (5.6 WAR, 169 ERA+, 1.111 WHIP, led NL in HR/9) and shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. of the San Diego Padres (4.2 WAR, 152 OPS+, .317 BA, 22 HR, 16 SB).

He received 29 of the 30 first place votes.

Alonso, 24, set a Major League Baseball rookie record for home runs, swatting 53, breaking the mark of 52 set by the Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees back in 2017. Alonso’s 53 home runs shattered the National League record of 39, set by Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Alonso led all rookies in homers (53), RBI (120), extra-base hits (85), total bases (347), runs (102), walks (72), slugging (.586) and OPS (.945), tied for first in hits (154), second in multi-hit games (42), OBP (.359) and finished third in doubles (30). He is the first rookie in MLB history with 50 homers and 30 doubles.

He also won the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in Cleveland in July.

Alonso tied for fifth among rookies in major league history with 85 extra-base hits. He set the Mets’ franchise record with 85 extra-base hits and recorded 153 hits in 2019, which is also a Mets rookie record.

The “Polar Bear” is the first rookie in modern baseball history to lead all of Major League Baseball in home runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, two rookies since 1900 tied for the most home runs in a season: Tim Jordan for Brooklyn in 1906 (12 homers) and Mark McGwire with Oakland in 1987 (49).

New York Giants: An Increased Role In The Offense Leading To Success For Darius Slayton

The New York Giants suffered a disappointing and embarrassing loss on Sunday to the in-town rival New York Jets. The team overall played a pretty poor game, but there were a few individual performances to be pleased with, on offense especially.

Daniel Jones had an excellent game throwing the football with 4 touchdown passes, 0 interceptions, and 308 passing yards. He did fumble 3 times, however, it was still a game with more positive plays than negative from the rookie. Jones demonstrated strong chemistry with two of his receivers on Sunday.

Golden Tate was a reliable target for Daniel Jones, catching 4 passes for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tate’s production is expected as an 11-year veteran being payed

But what is not expected is for a fifth-round rookie receiver to be the most efficient and productive receiver on the team. Darius Slayton had the best game of his career so far against the Jets, but he has been quietly putting together an excellent season.

An Increased Role In The Offense

Darius Slayton’s breakout performance against the Jets was directly correlated to his increased role in the offense. Slayton received a career-high 14 targets on Sunday. He caught 10 of these 14 targets for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Head coach Pat Shurmur has received a lot of criticism this season for his offensive play-calling and the way he uses his players. He had been using Darius Slayton primarily as a deep threat this season, as indicated by the following Player Chart by Next Gen Stats from Week 8:

Darius Slayton’s routes against Detroit were all deep routes over 15 yards. In this game, Slayton did manage to grab two impressive deep touchdown catches. However, his skill set was being limited because he was not being targeted on quick routes underneath, which he is actually pretty good at, as demonstrated on Sunday.

Here is Darius Slayton’s Player Chart from Week 10 against the New York Jets. Notice, he only ran three routes 15 yards or deeper, but ran a hefty dosage of routes under ten yards, resulting in a lot of completions and one huge catch and run for a touchdown off of a slant route:

Credit where credit is due, Pat Shurmur did an excellent job of getting Darius Slayton involved in the offense. He will need to continue to get Slayton involved during the Giants’ last six games of the season in order to continue the rookie’s development into his second season.

New York Yankees: It’s Time To Move On From Luis Cessa

New York Yankees, Luis Cessa

Luis Cessa has been in the New York Yankees bullpen for a few years now, even making occasional starts. However, he hasn’t performed and the Yankees need to move on from him.

They’ve given him a lot of chances, and by a lot I mean that he has no minor league options remaining. He would have to be traded, released, or waived to get off the Yankees roster.

The 27 year old righty from Mexico was on the roster and healthy all season, appearing in 43 games. He had a 4.11 ERA in 81 innings, striking out 75.

On paper, that doesn’t look bad. But, anytime he was put in a high leverage situation of any type, he fell apart. In blowout games that he pitched in, he was really good and that skewed his stats. His ERA in high leverage situations is probably around six.

Cessa also gives up a lot of home runs. He served up 14 this year and 16 in 2016, and that’s a lot for the amount of innings he pitched in both years.

His K/BB ratio is 2.4:1, which is not good at all. You would want it to be around 5:1 or 6:1 to be effective.

His Replacement:

Jordan Montgomery would be a likely replacement if Cessa left the team. With the hunt for starting pitchers, it’s very likely that Montgomery would be in the bullpen. You already have at least four other starters before free agency (Paxton, Severino, Happ, Tanaka, and maybe German if he doesn’t get banned?)

Montgomery would also easily be able go start games if he needed to because of injuries, and would provide much longer relief than Cessa out of the bullpen.

The Yankees have been giving Luis Cessa a shot for four years, but now it’s time to move on from him.

Brooklyn Nets: Quick Look at the Nets vs the Utah Jazz

Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie

The Brooklyn Nets are in dire need of a bounce-back game after getting burned by the Phoenix Suns. After a day in which they get to travel and rest, they will get that opportunity in Salt Lake City as they match up with the Utah Jazz.

The Utah Jazz are currently on a two-game win streak that featured championship-contending teams (the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks), so this may be an excellent chance to see how the Brooklyn Nets stack up in the bigger picture of the Eastern Conference. The Jazz also play tonight, so they’ll be coming into their game with the Brooklyn Nets off back to back. Brooklyn must take advantage of this.

With that being said, here are some things to look at going into tomorrow’s game:

Turnovers

The Brooklyn Nets turn the ball over at the second-highest clip in the NBA so far this season at a little over 18 giveaways a game (18.3). That is entirely too many. For a team that is 26th in defensive rating, the Brooklyn Nets cannot afford to give opposing teams extra possessions.

On a more optimistic note, the Utah Jazz are ranked 25th in the league on converting turnovers into points. But the Brooklyn Nets are ranked 27th in points allowed to opposing teams off turnovers. Come Tuesday, one of these stats will have to give way to the other.

But as always, the turnover game is very crucial to the Brooklyn Nets’ chances of winning. It is almost criminal for a team that ranks in the Top 5 of virtually every offensive statistical category to give up the ball and force itself to defend while it is a horrendous defensive team.

Style Clash

The Brooklyn Nets and the Utah Jazz are polar opposites as far as basketball teams go. The Brooklyn Nets are one of the fastest-paced teams in the league, while the Utah Jazz are one of the slowest. Brooklyn averages about ten more possessions a game than Utah (112.4 to 102). How fast the game is played holds extra weight with one team playing back to back. If Utah can keep the game at a slow pace, they can stave off the effects of playing a game the night before. If Brooklyn can push the tempo, however, they can make Utah commit sloppy play (23rd in turnovers) while weakening a defense that may be operating on heavy legs.

Containing The Spider

In his third season, Donovan Mitchell has career highs in almost every statistical category that matters. His points, FG percentage, 3pt FG percentage, rebounds, free throw attempts, and steals are all career highs through his seven games of play. As their franchise building block and leading scorer, keeping him from dominating the game is easier said than done. Brooklyn guards will have their hands full with him. This might be a game where David Nwaba can make a significant impact and showcase his need for more minutes.

Don’t Settle

For the first time since his rookie year, Rudy Gobert is averaging less than 2bpg (1.1). He is still known and feared for his shot-blocking ability, but that hasn’t quite been there as of yet. Some of that is solely because it’s early in the season. Some of that is because of the improved perimeter defense. Regardless of those factors and others, he is a big part of the NBA’s stingiest defense. The Brooklyn Nets cannot settle for jumpers all night. Attack Rudy Gobert and get him into foul trouble early. This should soften up a defense that allows less than 100pts a game and hasn’t allowed more than 104pts at home (only two teams have hit the 100pt mark when facing the Utah Jazz at home).

New York Yankees: Will 2020 be the year of Deivi Garcia?

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees are known for how deep their farm system is. Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, and Clint Frazier are all guys that have come from their Minor League system and lit up the Major Leagues.

Promoted to triple-A at just 20 years old, Deivi Garcia has shown promise to potentially being on the 2020 roster. “Amazing,” is how general manager Brian Cashman described his young star.

Despite mediocre stats this past season, Garcia has shown he could play at the Major League level. He sits 92-96MPH on his fastball with a high spin-rate curveball.

The New York Yankees are in no place to not consider Garcia a roster spot after their pitching struggles this season. Considering his age, I cannot see a starting role next season but a medium-leverage reliever is not out of the picture.

“For his age, he was probably the youngest pitcher in the International League,” said Cashman. “If he got here, he would have been the youngest pitcher in the big leagues. It was an incredible run. But obviously he’ll go on the roster this winter and we’ll see what we got in the spring.”

The Yankees are going to see how Garcia performs during Spring Training and make a decision there. It also depends on what moves the Yankees make during the offseason. If they add one or two starters, Garcia could be more restricted until he gets older.

The Yankees are in no rush to bring up Garcia to the show. Even though he has the talent, a jump from triple-A to the big leagues is much bigger than jumping between the minor leagues.

Even though Cashman hasn’t ruled out Garcia for the 2020 rotation, it’ll be a little bit of a long-shot. I can definitely see a bullpen role, but definitely not a starting role until a year or two down the road.

New York Mets: Brandon Nimmo Year in Review

Brandon Nimmo was slated to be a table setter for the New York Mets in 2019, but an unfortunate injury forced him to miss a chunk of his season. Nimmo returned to his 2018 form towards the end of the year and gave hope that he will be a star for the 2020 season.

He made a name for himself due to his infectious smile, hustle and genuine love for playing the game. Nimmo was the original lead off hitter, but fell in the order due to his high strikeout totals. He battled through a neck injury for almost two months, but it took a toll on his numbers. Nimmo only hit .200 with three home runs, 14 home runs and 48 strikeouts in 130 at bats through May 20th.

Forgotten Man

Nimmo was on the shelf until the beginning of September due to his neck. During that period of time, it gave J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith the opportunity to shine. Both took advantage of their playing time which helped bring the Mets back into the race. In turn, this made it hard for Nimmo to play everyday once he finally returned.

When Nimmo played, he made it impossible to get him out of the lineup. He returned to being a dominant on base machine and reclaimed the role as the leadoff hitter for the Mets. Nimmo had a .261 average, .995 OPS, five home runs, 15 RBIs and 20 walks.

This was the Nimmo the Mets expected to see from the beginning of the season and if healthy, he adds to a dominant Mets outfield for 2020. His only criticism at a hitter has to come with the amount of times he strikes out.  Some of his strikeout totals will be higher because he works deep counts, but the more he limits his strikeouts, the better he will be.

Grades:

Hitting for Average: D+, Unfortunately his September was a case of too little, too late. He still finished the year a .221

Hitting for Power: C: Only 8 home runs in 199 ABs, but showed promise in September

Defense: C+, Not great, but not bad either. Average to below average in left and center field.

Speed/Baserunning: C-, 3 for 3 in Stolen Base opportunities. He is a good baserunner, but is too fast to only steal three bags.

Intangibles: A+, No one else on the roster can match the hustle and drive of Nimmo

Overall: D+, His September is the only thing saving him from being an F. Do not give up on him, he is poised for an All-Star 2020 season.

How the New Rules Will Impact the 2020 New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees have been dead set in forming a team in a particular way. Backload the bullpen and keep minimal bench players. However, the new rules MLB will be implementing for 2020 will drastically affect the Yankees.

For starters, relief pitchers will now be required to face a minimum of 3 batters per appearance. Gone are the days of the lefty/righty specialist that… let’s face it, those guys were a waste of roster space. If you can’t get righty’s out as a pitcher, get your butt back to the minors. This will help strengthen our bullpen so that we only have the BEST pitchers on the roster.

However, the number of pitchers we can have on the roster will be capped. We have had more pitchers in the bullpen than position players in the last 5 years. Now, once the league and players association agree to terms, we will see more position players on the roster than pitchers. Which, after seeing the number of position players we saw on the IL last season… dear God, we need more position players on the active roster. This will result in several tough decisions on who we should keep, and who we’ll have to cut.

The rosters will also expand to 26 players during the regular season, expanding to 27 for doubleheaders. For September, we’ll see only 28 players on the roster.

Who wants to see the end of the 40 man rosters in September, right at the start of the playoff push? Look at the utter collapse we had this September, right at the time when we had to make a concerted push for the best record in baseball! Do you want to live through THAT again?!

So, we’ll have to strengthen our already strong bullpen by making sure we have pitchers who are capable of going MINIMUM one full inning every time. We’ll have to also ensure that the bullpen is ONLY comprised of our strongest pitchers when we cap the number of pitchers we can have on the roster. We’ll also have more room in the dugout for position players by seeing 26 men on the roster throughout the entire season. We’ll also have to make any trade deadline decisions by the summer trade deadline. That’s it! No more waiver trades toward the start of the fall.

I may be cheerfully optimistic, but these are all decisions we needed last year. Look at it this way, we will have more room to ensure Miguel Andujar, Mike Ford, and Clint Frazier are all on the roster as a bare minimum! No more juggling who can stay up or who spends time in the minors. This will reduce the probability we’ll lose someone due to them running out of options, which would result in us likely having to give up a guy like Frazier, Tauchman, or Higashioka.

Bring on the changes. The Yankees need them.